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One of the most important things to do when supporting someone you care about is to recognise your own boundaries.
Decide for yourself how much time and energy you can give, what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do. In fact, sometimes it’s vital to say no, so that you can continue to provide support in the months and years to come.
It’s also common to experience what’s called ‘functional decline’.
People with schizophrenia often find it harder to work, be social and organise their lives.
Getting treatment early is one of the best things a person can do for their recovery, but while they are capable of making their own choices only the individual who is unwell can make the decision to seek help.
A GP can conduct an initial assessment and refer the person to specialists as appropriate.
Once clinical support is in place, you may also be able to assist your loved one in finding further community support, such as peer support programs or a caseworker.
They tend to come and go, but if left untreated they get worse over time. Your GP can make an initial assessment then refer you to a specialist — usually a psychiatrist — for full diagnosis and treatment.
The following are much stronger signs that something is wrong: If you think you or someone you know might be experiencing these changes in their thinking or behaviour now, see a doctor immediately. Schizophrenia takes time to diagnose: you might get a working diagnosis of schizophrenia quickly, but it can’t be confirmed until you’re experienced a month of psychotic symptoms and at least six months of functional decline. Treatments include antipsychotic medication, specialist psychological therapies and community support programs to help with social connection, physical health, accommodation and work or school.
Sometimes fear of treatment arises from not knowing what is available.